Employers are realising that students with better grades or degrees aren’t necessarily the best performers (and for that I blame the devaluing of degrees and A levels in attempts to attract more students or get more brownie points. You can no longer trust a degree classification).
And in the march to more social diversity it seems you can forget about spells working abroad, being in a sports team, or having a good internship. Now I can see how the latter would disadvantage people from lower socio-economic groups but where do you draw the line?
Do you want token ethnic minority or working class or female employees just to look good? Do you want to be a social engineer or just employ the best people?
I read about a consultancy firm recently that had changed its recruitment process by excluding from CVs the following information:
- Academic achievements
- Work experience
They claim such blind CVs led to almost 20% more candidates in its graduate and school leaver intake who would previously have been ineligible. So what are they actually using as criteria?
And this approach has been tried decades ago leaving off the name of the school, the marital status, age etc to try and level the playing field. But then you still have to get through interviews.
We all know interviews are notoriously unreliable partly because of the way candidates present themselves and how attractive they are. But they could be better if interviewers, and candidates for that matter, were trained properly.
Recent research from the US suggests that highly qualified candidates are three times more likely to get a job if they are honest about their shortcomings as they come across as more authentic. Of course whether it works for less qualified or less competent candidates is a different matter. Candidates often lie about their skills or experience (between 2/3 and 9/10 if research is to be believed).
Psychometrics including aptitude and situational tests are more reliable than interviews – but you need specialist expertise to use them.
Assessment centres are more reliable predictors with multiple tasks for candidates and multiple trained raters. But again you need the expertise to do it and they are expensive to set up when most companies want a quick and easy solution.
Companies are trying a range of things to attract more diverse applicants but diversity isn’t necessarily a good thing for the business in every situation as research shows.